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October 20, 2017

Featured: Scout Windsor

Scout Windsor's surreal creature design comes to life in VR

Scout Windsor is a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on character and creature design. Her current focus on digital sculpting is informed by previous work in costume construction, traditional clay sculpting, and resin casting. Scout completed a BA in Film Studies at the University of Calgary in 2009. Her designs are influenced by a fascination with speculative fiction, talking animals, and surreal worlds. Scout took the time to talk to us about her experiments in MasterpieceVR creating a hybrid animal model.

Scout Windsor's Pine Deer, created in MasterpieceVR

Before working in VR did you have any experience creating 3D art?

I had previously worked in Maya and ZBrush. Both are very powerful but have a complex interface that can be intimidating to new users. Once I tried VR sculpting, I decided to build a new computer and pick up a VR headset so I could continue to explore new possibilities. The experience of having your work in the same 3D space is amazing, it feels like hanging out with your creation. 

"My previous experience working in traditional materials makes me appreciate the freedom offered by VR sculpting"

How does your multi-disciplinary art background, especially the clay sculpting and costume design, inform your work in VR? Has it helped your approach to design in VR, or do you find you have mostly found a new way of seeing 3D designs with these new tools?

My previous experience working in traditional materials makes me appreciate the freedom offered by VR sculpting. My VR workflow has some similarities to my clay workflow - I tend to build the shapes layer by layer, and save detail for last. Lately, as an experiment, I've made a few pieces where I push texture/detail from the beginning, and see what emerges during the sculpting session. Working in VR has broadened my sense of what is possible as a 3D artist, and I am very excited to see where this technology goes in the future. Since most VR apps now support FBX and OBJ exports, the possibilities are endless, and it helps integrate the programs into a traditional 3D workflow. In the future, I'd like to try 3D printing some components and incorporate them into my traditional creations.

What is your general workflow for digital art and how have you adapted VR into this workflow?

In my artistic practice, I am very much about utilizing any programs that can help me create the look I am aiming for - which often evolves throughout the creation process. Currently, I usually begin with a VR sculpt, then I'll either capture images for use in Photoshop, or take OBJ/FBX exports to ZBrush, Substance Painter, or Marmoset Toolbox.

Tell us about the Pine Deer you made in MasterpieceVR. How did you approach it, what tools did you use and did you bring the model into other programs afterward?

 

I began this piece by envisioning some possibilities through silhouette sketches. I was looking for a compelling hybrid creature and decided on one that combined elements from various species of deer, spined dinosaurs, and porcupines. To create this model, I started with a rough 3D trace of my concept by placing it on the symmetry plane and then began moving and adjusting pieces to correct the anatomy. The spike clay tool was very useful for the spines, as well as painting the stripes. I used brushes to create the eyes so that I could retain a defined edge where the lids meet the surface of the eye. I also used the darken, lighten, and desaturate brushes to add depth to the completed paint on the creature. Once the sculpt was finished, I exported it as an FBX file with colours and imported into Marmoset Toolbox, where I added lights, camera settings, and other effects to give the final image a pleasing aesthetic.

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